Organizers of the Game Developers Conference, the world’s largest and longest running event serving professionals dedicated to the art and science of making games, hosted a record 19,000 game industry professionals attending San Francisco’s Moscone Convention Center for the 25th edition of the conference.
The weeklong anniversary event offered more than 450 lectures, panels, summits, tutorials and roundtable discussions across a full five days of content, with GDC references ‘trending’ on Twitter in San Francisco.
Lecture highlights from Monday and Tuesday’s GDC more than 15 tutorials and summits included Rovio’s Peter Vesterbacka discussing the Angry Birds phenomenon (GDC Smartphone Summit), Zynga’s Mark Skaggs on going from FarmVille to CityVille (Social & Online Games Summit) game designer and author Jane McGonigal on ‘gamefulness’ (Serious Games Summit), and Super Meat Boy‘s creators on their rough route to success (Independent Games Summit).
GDC 2011 also played host to the 13th Annual Independent Games Festival and the 11th Annual Game Developers Choice Awards. Swedish independent developer Mojang’s acclaimed 3D world-building sandbox title, Minecraft, won the Seumas McNally Grand Prize and Audience Award during the IGF, as well as three awards at the GDCAs, becoming the first title ever to win awards in both ceremonies in the same year.
And capping off the evening at the Game Developers Choice Awards, Rockstar San Diego’s critically-acclaimed Wild West adventure title Red Dead Redemption took home Game Of The Year, one of four wins that also included awards for Best Technology and Best Game Design.
Some of the highlights of this 25th iteration of GDC included an all-star line-up of ‘classic postmortems’ – discussing the making of some of the most seminal video games of all time. Eric Chahi’s talk on Out Of This World/Another World received a standing ovation for its inspirational story. Other postmortems included Mark Cerny on Marble Madness, John Romero and Tom Hall discussing DOOM, and Will Wright on Raid On Bungeling Bay – with enjoyable bonus ‘Russian Space Minute’ diversions.
Other major talking points at the show were a keynote from Satoru Iwata, President of Nintendo, entitled “Video Games Turn 25: A Historical Perspective and Vision for the Future,” as well as a social game-centric Rant and the Game Design Challenge – won by Jason Rohrer with an innovative Minecraft mod.
Standout talks from StarCraft II‘s Dustin Browder, LucasArts’ Clint Hocking, and key lectures from GDC veterans Chris Crawford – on ‘days of yore’ and Brian Moriarty – on Roger Ebert and ‘sublime art’ – were also among the most buzzed-about talks at the show this year.
Finally, a packed GDC Expo floor included multiple demo units for Nintendo’s 3DS handheld, major showcases for game tools companies, spectacular 3D stereoscopic gaming showcases, and busy Career Pavilion and Business Center areas, as well as the always popular IGF Pavilion.
For viewing of GDC-related material after the event, the UBM TechWeb Game Network’s GDC Vault website will offer access to select GDC 2011 material in approximately two weeks time, including free access to speaker slides and sponsor-supported videos, as well as select conference videos. GDC All-Access Pass holders and individual Vault subscribers will get access to hundreds of video sessions from this and previous GDC shows.
“The past week of GDC truly embodied the passion and spirit of the video game community,” said event director Meggan Scavio. “From seasoned game veterans to aspiring game professionals in areas spanning social and online games through major console titles and beyond, we are honored to continue to serve the industry – and hope to see you all next year.”
Following the success of the show, Game Developers Conference organizers have announced that GDC 2012 will return to the Moscone Convention Center in San Francisco from Monday, March 5 to Friday, March 9, 2012 – with a call for lecture submissions to open this summer.
More information on Game Developers Conference 2012, as well as other 2011 shows including GDC Online, GDC Europe and GDC China – will be available at the official GDC website.